David Artell says that young Owen Dale will only have benefitted from his extended loan spell with Witton Albion. The teenager was rewarded with a new contract by Crewe Alexandra last week after breaking into the first team squad earlier in the season and impressing whilst on loan with Witton.
Dale has helped the club push for a play-off place in the Northern Premier League. They are currently 7th in the league table but do have a couple of games in hand on 5th placed Farlsey Celtic.
Artell told the club’s website: “Owen was surprised that he got a new contract. He didn’t expect it because he had gone out on loan to Witton but this club doesn’t work like that.
“We wanted him to go out and play competitive, men’s football. He has done that and has a played a major part in Witton competing for a play-off place.
“It is a step up from Under-23 football. That doesn’t prepare you for first team football and Owen has gained some great experience.
He added: “Now he will come back next season with that experience under his belt. He will still find it difficult to step up to our first team because he is still young but he has only benefitted from playing against men every week.”